PolExit and the divorce bill: how much does it cost Polish Patriotism?
“Divide et impera” is the new EU way to harmonize and regulate member states, within the European Union, argues the Law and Justice Party together with “Polexit” supporters. A practice which no longer take care of own culture of the EU members, a policy making which overcomes the deeper interests of each state, instead of emphasizing heterogeneity which is a central feature of a great economic and political union like EU. Those complaints are just a small part of the whole recent period lived by angry polish people, and especially by supporters of the extreme-right wing, towards a Union which is not able to grant anymore a solid and a healthy congregation, unless interfering into domestic policies and affairs of each member state. These resentful feelings have gradually grown since 2015 when Poland decided to make strength opposition to EU directives concerning the migrant quotas (relocation of about 120000 migrants together with Hungary and Czech Republic), and then rising because of the constantly obstruction of Brussels linked to the new reform of justice passed this summer as a result of a strong commitment of PiS party. “Over a period of two years, the Polish authorities have adopted more than 13 laws affecting the entire structure of the justice system in Poland, impacting the Constitutional Tribunal, Supreme Court, ordinary courts, National Council for the Judiciary, prosecution service and National School of Judiciary. The common pattern is that the executive and legislative branches have been systematically enabled to politically interfere in the composition, powers, administration and functioning of the judicial branch.” However, is this new path a challenge not just for the domestic polish system, but also contrary to the most significant principles of European rules signed by that country upon its EU entrance?
Poland wants more; Poland wants to be a sovereign-state within a proto-state which is EU. For the time being, the incredible patriotic feeling of polish values put by the PiS party as a flag to clean up Poland from corrupt officers, means strengthen the central power despite all liberal and democratic policies as we know. All practices put in place by the government majority in order to grant itself extra power such as undermine human rights and privacy, skepticism about free-trade, reduce the independence of judicial power and also not grant a total freedom of the press and all women rights, not accept legally elected judges seem to be a long walk towards a possible “nuclear detonation”. The European Commission, indeed, despite all the effort “to engage the Polish authorities in a constructive dialogue in the context of the Rule of Law Framework”, concluded, on 20th of December 2017, “that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the rule of law in Poland”. This development has resulted in a motion to the European Council to adopt a decision under article 7 (ex article 7 TEU) (1) of Treaty on European Union. The article at issue is also called, in the Brussels contest, “nuclear option” and it has never known any application in the EU history. If also the Council, “acting by a majority of four fifths of its members after obtaining the consent of European Parliament, states that there is a clear risk of challenging the fundamentals principles of the EU which are the core of article 2 of the Treaty on European Union, Poland might lose its right to vote in the European institutions.
The last act signed, on 20th of December, by the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, which put Supreme Court and other judicial bodies under control of legislative and executive powers, does not leave any remote possibilities to find a compromise circumstance, a constructive dialogue between Warsaw and Brussels.
Given the fact that a compromise seems to be a distant dream, the relationship is on the clock and the ticker is not going to stop instead one of the great powers shows willingness to step aside.
The populist wind has echoed in so many member states in the previous years, like Italy, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria and the dark night does not seem to end, furthermore in the same time, EU is having trouble to find the right balance in responding to those menaces.
Despite Poland is a vital country in the east-part, EU must take coherent actions, otherwise the results would undermine the credibility of the Union in promoting its values from the inside out. However, in doing so there is a structural problem to struggle with, namely the profound commitment of the EU to “be a unified identity, but the rules that create its process keep it from acting with geopolitical rationality” and also, a commitment such as granting self-determination of each members, but in the same time pushing to harmonize all the states. Nonetheless, the harmonization goal has been reflected not just on the economic area, but also the political one even though all the Union is composed by a great variety of institutional buildings, cultures and traditions. And this ambition came to constrain the self-determination imperative and national identity. That limit is no longer tolerated by so many regions and it is one of the reasons that “the periphery of the European Union is pulling away from the center”.
No more rules imposed by Brussels’ unelected elite of bureaucrats, no more painfully negotiations over environmental law, migrant quotas, trade affairs, no more EU occupation are the complaints of a whole appeal made by PiS. Still, while Poland is coming apart, it does not stop to push EU back threatening to leave from the Union. The unique response by the EU is to bankrupt Poland with a debt of 92.6 billion dollars which is the same amount Poland has received since joining the bloc in 2004.
In a vicious circle of different threats, Poland does not want to give up to its profound commitment to reform the State even though it results in contradiction with European values, in the meanwhile EU does not want to stop trying to hold together something that is coming apart, that does not work anymore.
The next weeks might be crucial in a delicate phase where the article 7 could be “neutralize” Poland and where EU might fail to give a strong message of a unique and solid congregation.